Title: Teach Me a Lesson
Author: Jasmine Haynes
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Format: Paperback, 320 Pages
ISBN-10: 0425266249 (Berkley/Penguin)
ISBN-13: 978-0425266243 (Berkley/Penguin)
Reviewed by: Kelly
Do what you have to do, Principal. I deserve it…
High school guidance counselor by day, sex therapist by night, Charlotte Moore’s passion is people—whether helping students with the realities of life or helping their parents with the fantasies. Enter Principal Lance Hutton, the perfect subject for Charlotte’s method in recharging the sex drive—and it’s going to take some discipline. Considering this hot older man is her boss, it makes sense that he dole out the punishment. Besides, Charlotte’s begging for it.
But when Charlotte’s after-school extracurricular activities are made public, it threatens her job, her reputation, and the career of the man she’s falling head over heels in love with. Now, if this town wants a scandal, Charlotte and Lance are ready to give them one—and a lesson in bad behavior they’ll never forget.
Quick & Dirty: Teach Me a Lesson truly surprised me. Expecting a simple erotic read, Haynes instead delivered an emotionally complicated story about the benefits and costs of venturing into the BDSM world.
Opening Sentence: “He wants me to have sex with other men.”
As a sex therapist, Charlotte Moore’s dedication to helping her clients overcome sexual issues includes practicing what she preaches. So it’s no surprise when Charlotte decides she owes it to her clients to discover the benefits of certain BDSM acts after her best friend’s glowing recommendations. The only problem is finding a guy willing to play along with a simple, no-strings-attached teacher/student role-playing arrangement.
Enter Lance Hutton, the authoritarian principal of the local high school where Charlotte also works as a part-time guidance counselor. After all, Lance may be attractive but he’s certainly not the type of guy Charlotte normally goes for. He’s ten years older – a serious relationship deal-breaker for Charlotte. She’s fiercely independent and used to the one being in control and her experiences have proven that younger guys are more than willing to let her take the reins in the relationship. But the sexual encounters with Lance quickly morph into a complex dominant/submissive relationship that leaves both of them fighting for control.
Things get even more complicated between the two when Charlotte begins working with a troubled girl at the school. The girl’s ties to one of Charlotte’s clients from her private practice – a client who was seeing Charlotte in secret and who’s married to one of the most powerful men on the school board – puts both Lance and Charlotte’s careers on the line and stresses their relationship to the breaking point.
Teach Me a Lesson is a new level of insta-lust. Charlotte and Lance’s relationship went from barely speaking in the three years she’d worked at the school, to noticing each other sexually one afternoon, to their first sexual encounter that same day, to dominant/submissive roles two days later, to love. But the quick acceleration surprisingly increased my enjoyment of the story. Their relationship sizzled because of the instantaneous nature. Asking her no-nonsense boss for a spanking after catching him looking at her cleavage was a big risk for Charlotte. As was Lance’s quick and enthusiastic response in locking the classroom door despite his rule of never getting involved with an employee or messing around while at work. The rush of stepping outside their normal, responsible roles and subsequent addiction to the thrill of possible discovery wouldn’t have been possible if either of them had thought too long about the consequences in the beginning.
Lance and Charlotte’s sexual encounters are extremely mild as far as the world of BDSM stories – mainly role-playing and spanking – but the issue of control is still a driving force in their story. Haynes does a wonderful job translating Charlotte’s angst over the need to be in control versus the desire to be controlled. Charlotte is determined to maintain her independence and exercise her free will without having to answer to Lance outside of the bedroom (or car, or classroom or…well you get the drift). She’s the one imposing the limits on their relationship, yet she’s also bothered when Lance doesn’t show her preferential treatment when the crap hits the fan. Lance has difficulties letting go of his dominant role outside of their sexcapades. He often uses sex as a weapon to get what he wants and his inability to keep their private lives separate from their work is more than a little unsettling. Honestly, it was disturbing to go from concern over a young girl with self-esteem issues to commanding Charlotte to strip and bend over for a spanking in the same paragraph. It also perfectly highlights what I assume is an issue for a new dominant – the inability to let go of that persona when in the “real world.”
The weakest aspect of the story is the solution to the issue at the school. It’s clear Haynes didn’t put as much thought into the resolution as the rest of the story and it definitely doesn’t do her characters justice. Despite this lapse, I recommend Teach Me a Lesson to anyone who enjoys a well-written contemporary romance featuring mild BDSM scenes.
“Not even once.” She was smiling again. The Cleopatra smile. The one that brought Julius Caesar and Marc Antony to their knees before her. “But I’ve been thinking,” she said in a singularly innocent, angelic voice.
“About what?” he was compelled to ask.
“That maybe I missed out by never being spanked.”
Her brilliant green gaze mesmerized him. “Corporal punishment like spanking has been deemed to damage a child’s psyche,” he advised her.
Oh, that smile. Soon he’d be on his knees, too.
“But I’m not a child, Principal Hutton.”
“No, you most certainly are not.”
FTC Advisory: Berkley/Penguin provided me with a copy of Teach Me a Lesson. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.